Second Chances for Youth is committed to the recognition of the human rights of youth and the importance of restorative justice. We believe that sentencing youth to life in prison, without a meaningful opportunity for release upon demonstration of rehabilitation, is incompatible with these values. We believe in a system of restorative justice that gives a voice to all those in the community affected by violence. We are therefore dedicated to abolishing natural life sentences for youth through collaborative grassroots, legislative, and judicial advocacy and to ensure a meaningful opportunity for release for all youth serving this sentence.
Statement of Principles
We believe that society is responsible for the well-being of its children and human rights principles entitle youth to special protections consistent with their status. We believe in a system of laws that recognizes the need to protect children until they are responsible enough to make mature decisions as well as the need to focus on the rehabilitation and restoration of children who make terrible decisions. Scientific research affirms our societal recognition that youth are fundamentally different from adults because of their immature brain development, as well as their weaker impulse control and reasoning abilities.
We believe in a system of restorative justice that honors the special potential for growth and rehabilitation of youth, by offering a meaningful opportunity for release to all young people sent to prison. The path to a just society lies in allowing children who are rehabilitated and have matured to become compassionate adults, a chance to return to their communities.
We therefore believe that all young people sentenced to prison must be given a meaningful opportunity to demonstrate their rehabilitation, and be offered a second chance to live in their communities as productive members of society.